NATO kills Afghan civilians, again and again

This video from the USA is called Rick Rowley: Recent NATO Attacks on Afghan Civilians Show U.S. Military Surge Strategy Has Failed.

By Bill Benfield:

14 dead as Nato strikes civilians

Sunday 29 May 2011

A Nato air strike supposedly targeting insurgents has hit two civilian homes in Helmand province, killing 14 women and children.

Provincial government spokesman Dawood Ahmadi said that the alliance had launched the air strike late on Saturday in retaliation for an attack earlier in the day on a US marine base in Nawzad.

He said that Nato hit two civilian houses, killing five girls, seven boys and two women.

The raid generated furious protests from local villagers.

A group from Sera Cala village travelled to Helmand’s capital of Lashkar Gar, bringing with them the bodies of eight of the dead children – some as young as two years old.

“See, they aren’t Taliban,” they chanted as the carried the corpses to the governor’s mansion.

Nato spokesman Major Tim James said that a joint coalition and Afghan delegation was travelling to the site yesterday to investigate.

He didn’t confirm the air strike and provided no details.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly called on coalition forces to minimise night raids and air strikes in order to avoid accidental deaths.

Civilian deaths are a continuing source of tension between Nato and Afghan officials.

See also here. And here. And here.

Tensions were rising between Hamid Karzai’s government and his Western backers today after the president said he would no longer allow Nato air strikes on houses – only to be promptly contradicted by the military alliance: here.

4 thoughts on “NATO kills Afghan civilians, again and again

  1. Nato Issues Apology Over Afghan Civilian Deaths

    Monday May 30, 2011 02:31:00 EDT

    (RTTNews) – The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has tendered an apology for an air attack that left at least 14 civilians dead in south-western Afghanistan on Saturday, reports said.

    A joint statement issued Monday by the security alliance’s senior Generals – Gen David Petraeus, Lt Gen David Rodriguez and Marine Maj Gen John Toolan – said Nato’s top priority was to prevent civilian deaths and that it took such cases very seriously.

    Afghan officials had earlier said that up to 12 children and two women were killed in the attack by Nato aircraft on a compound in Nawzad district of Helmand province.

    The incident had been condemned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai who said the US had been repeatedly warned over raids that killed civilians and this was his last warning. Moreover Karzai urged Kabul’s Ministry of Defense to stop what he described as “arbitrary” operations by foreign forces.

    “The President called this incident a great mistake and the murdering of Afghanistan’s children and women, and on behalf of the Afghan people gives his last warning to the US troops and US officials in this regard,” an official release had said.

    According to the Generals, the air raid began after a US Marine had been killed and five insurgents holed up inside the compound in Nawzad district kept firing at ISAF troops. Even as they admitted that civilians had been present inside the building, the military Commanders put the civilian death toll at nine.

    Further the Nato statement said a full investigation had already been launched and that ISAF would “ensure that we make amends with the families in accordance with Afghan culture.”

    Meanwhile, the White House said it shared Karzai’s concerns and took them “very seriously.”

    The Karzai government has repeatedly called for an end to night-time raids saying that it enabled Taliban-led insurgents to fuel anti-American feelings among the Afghan population. However, the raids which form the cornerstone of the security alliance’s counter-insurgency operations, have reportedly helped to eliminate several top militant commanders.

    For comments and feedback: contact

    Copyright(c) 2011 All Rights Reserved


  2. Nato air strikes can no longer target houses in Afghanistan, says Karzai

    President furious after recent attack killed civilians, though questions arise about his authority over coalition tactics

    Associated Press in Kabul, Tuesday 31 May 2011 08.30 BST

    Angered by civilian casualties, the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has said he will no longer allow Nato air strikes on houses, issuing his strongest statement yet against methods that the military alliance says are key to its war on Taliban insurgents.

    The president’s remarks follow a recent strike that mistakenly killed a group of children and women in southern Helmand province. He said it would be the last.

    “From this moment, air strikes on the houses of people are not allowed,” Karzai told reporters in Kabul.

    Nato says it never conducts such strikes without Afghan government co-ordination and approval. A spokesman for Nato forces in Afghanistan said they will review their procedures for air strikes given Karzai’s statement but did not say that it would force any immediate change in tactics.

    “In the days and weeks ahead we will co-ordinate very closely with President Karzai to ensure that his intent is met,” spokeswoman Major Sunset Belinsky said.

    If Karzai holds to what sounds like an order to international troops to abandon strikes, it could bring the Afghan government in direct conflict with its international allies.

    “Coalition forces constantly strive to reduce the chance of civilian casualties and damage to structures, but when the insurgents use civilians as a shield and put our forces in a position where their only option is to use air strikes, then they will take that option,” Belinsky said.

    It is unclear if Karzai has the power to order an end to such strikes. Nato and US forces are in Afghanistan under a United Nations mandate that expires in October.

    The US is negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government on the presence of its forces in the country going forward, but this has already become contentious, with Karzai declaring that he will put strict controls on how US troops conduct themselves in his country.

    “The Afghan people can no longer tolerate these attacks,” Karzai told reporters at the presidential palace.

    He issued a veiled threat: “The Afghan people will be forced to take action.” He did not, however, say what this action would be. “We want it to be clear that they are working in a sovereign nation,” Karzai said.


  3. Nato air strikes kill 52 Afghans

    KANDAHAR: Afghan authorities said Sunday Nato had killed 52 people, mostly civilians, in air strikes against insurgents as violence picked up in recent weeks with the start of the fighting season.

    In the southern province of Helmand, local authorities said at least 14 civilians, including women and children, were killed and six injured in an air raid Saturday.

    US Marines in Helmand’s Nawzad district called in air support after their base came under attack from small arms fire, the provincial government said in a statement.

    “During the air strike, two civilian houses were targeted which killed 14 civilians and six others were wounded,” it said.

    The statement said the dead included five girls, seven boys and two women.

    “ISAF are aware of the reports that civilians were allegedly killed in an ISAF air strike,” Major Tim James, a spokesman for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force, said.

    “(The) Regional Command South West has sent a joint assessment team to the area to look into the allegation and they will issue their findings to the press.”

    Aslam, a local elder of Nawzad district, said he “lost 12 relatives while 10 others including children were injured” in the air strike.

    He said some shots were fired at ISAF helicopters which flew into the area, adding that the choppers returned after 10 to 20 minutes and fired rockets, killing the “innocent civilians”.

    According to him, five children, five men and two women were killed in the attack.

    Separately the governor of Nuristan on Sunday said that 18 civilians and 20 police were killed by “friendly fire” during US-led air strikes against insurgents in his troubled northeastern province.

    Nuristan was the scene of heavy battles last week between the Taliban and Afghan security forces. The police and civilians were targeted Wednesday after they were mistaken for militants, Jamaluddin Badr said.

    “The policemen were killed due to friendly fire,” Badr said, adding the air strike in the troubled district of Do Ab targeted a location that the officers “had just” taken from the insurgents during fighting.

    “Civilians were killed because the Taliban… (who) ran out of ammunition fled into the civilians’ houses and then the civilians were mistaken with the Taliban and fired upon,” the governor said.

    Major James said those allegations were also being investigated.

    “ISAF has sent a fact-finding team to investigate the allegations about civilian and police casualties in Nuristan,” he said.

    “Our initial reporting does not indicate civilian casualties in that air strike,” he added.

    Civilian casualties in the US-led war against Al-Qaeda-linked Taliban insurgents is a sensitive issue and one of the main causes of a widening drift between President Hamid Karzai and his US backers.

    Karzai on Saturday ordered Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak to take over control of night raids from the Nato forces.

    Karzai’s administration says most civilian casualties occur during such operations and that night raids of civilian homes drive war-weary Afghans against his already-fragile administration.

    There are around 130,000 Nato-led foreign troops in Afghanistan, fighting a Taliban-led insurgency launched after the 2001 invasion brought down their regime in Kabul. (AFP)


  4. Pingback: Killing of Afghan civilians continues | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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